Sunday, November 27, 2022


An investigative probe into how rules written for distressed rust belt property may benefit a select few; Small Business Saturday highlights local Economies; FL nonprofit helps offset the high cost of insulin.


A Supreme Court case could have broad implications for the future of U.S. elections, results show voters rejected election deniers in many statewide races, and the concession phone call may be a thing of the past.


A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Many Older VA Residents Struggle, Even as Government Benefits Go Unused


Wednesday, August 31, 2022   

Many older, low-income adults in Virginia struggle to pay for medicine, food, and rent, and they may be unaware of the many programs available to help them.

The National Council on Aging has a free online tool at, which screens people for 2,000 programs, and a national helpline they can also use.

Heather Fortune, director of support services and engagement with Senior Connections in Richmond, part of the Capitol Area Agency on Aging, said every year, billions of dollars in benefits go unclaimed by older adults.

"Most older adults are not applying for the benefits because they don't know that they qualify, or they don't know how to apply at all," Fortune explained.

According to the Elder Index, it takes more than $2,500 a month to survive as a single older adult with health problems in Virginia. And yet, the average Social Security benefit is only about $1,600 dollars a month.

Erin Kee, director of programs for the Center for Benefits Access at the National Council on Aging, said the gap is a major stressor for many.

"About one in four older adults depends on Social Security for 90% of their income," Kee pointed out. "And about half of them depend on it for 50% of their income."

Lots of people know about Medicaid and SNAP, but other, lesser-known programs can provide significant savings. They include the New Eyes program for eyeglasses, and the Affordable Connectivity Program, with big discounts on internet service, laptops, desktop computers, and tablets.

Mary Bontly, benefits enrollment specialist at Senior Connections, uses the Benefits Checkup tool to make sure each of her clients knows if they are eligible for the various programs. She said a lot of people are surprised to hear there's a Medicare Savings Plan which can waive their monthly $170 contribution.

"You're getting a Medicare savings, it's going to allow you to not have to pay the $170," Bontly stated. "But the way you get it is by submitting a Medicaid application, and we help them with that."

And the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program can help with air conditioning and heating costs.

Disclosure: The National Council on Aging contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Civil Rights, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
During open enrollment for 2022 coverage, Georgia saw a record number of individuals, more than 700,000, sign up for health insurance. ( Stock)

Health and Wellness

Open enrollment for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is already underway, and ends on Jan. 15. More than 1.3 million Georgians do …

Social Issues

Holiday shoppers this week have no shortage of options with Small Business Saturday being observed on Nov. 26. Sandwiched between Black Friday and …

Health and Wellness

The American Heart Association has developed a series of videos to educate women about heart disease. The Red Chair Series is a four-episode series …

Chris Powers stands in front of the Land Bank lot that he tried to bid on in Southern Ohio. (Eye on Ohio)

Social Issues

By Lucia Walinchus for Eye on Ohio.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan for Ohio News Connection Collaboration reporting for the Ohio Center for Invest…

Social Issues

While many Iowa families gather through this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving in traditional ways with food and family, thousands of people take to …

The EPA claims that the EES Coke Battery plant has emitted thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide annually beyond its permitted limit of 2,100 tons. (Wikipedia)


Members of a Detroit-area community are intervening in an Environmental Protection Agency lawsuit against a DTE Energy subsidiary charged with dumping…

Health and Wellness

A bill headed to President Joe Biden's desk addresses a long-standing problem for domestic violence survivors, ending their ties to their abusers' …


Oregon is home to a plethora of rivers, but those waterways are not always accessible to every community. A new video series highlights how …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021